Lucky Late Bloomers? The Consequences of Early Marriage for Women in Western Kenya
32 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 23, 2015
We examine the impact of early marriage across a wide range of outcomes for women in rural western Kenya. The timing of physical maturation in girls has been shown to influence marriage timing in a quasi-random manner, and we find that each additional year that menarche is delayed is associated with an increase of 0.25 years in age at first marriage. Using age of menarche as an instrument for marital age, we show that delayed marriage increases female educational attainment, some academic test scores, and self-reported measures of health. At the same time, age of marriage appears to have little direct effect on many other important life outcomes including labor market participation, earnings, attitudes and beliefs, marriage market outcomes, and child health.
Keywords: Marriage, gender, education, labor market
JEL Classification: J12, J16, I25, I15, O12
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